Journal Voice Books


I do not know exactly what to call this style of book, but I know it when I read it. Lately, I have been reading a lot of them. This new book trend is a hybrid of the diary book format and a graphic novel, and they are all over the place. It is an updated version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I find the newer versions a little more clever. I do not anticipate any of these books winning a Newbery, but I do catch myself laughing aloud now and then.

How do I know I am reading a journal voice book?

  1. The book is written in 1st person, and the speaker has a conversational “kid-speak” voice (very casual).
  2. The main character is usually not a popular kid at school and has social dilemmas.
  3. Most books have a graphic element to them. They include doodles and cartoon drawings in the margins and/or images that make the page look like a piece of notebook paper. They often have fun fonts.
  4. The main character is often a reluctant reader or a struggling student in some way.
  5. There is a lot of white space on the page, and it is easy to finish the book quickly.
  6. And here is my final little observation. Almost all of the books have a male main character– especially the ones targeted at 3rd+ grade levels.

my life as a book

  • The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda (and sequels) by Tom Angleberger
  • The Great Hamster Massacre series by Katie Davies
  • I Funny: a Middle School Story by James Patterson
  • Other Middle School stories by James Patterson
  • What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld
  • Wonkenstein, The Creature From My Closet by Obert Skye**
  • Potterwookie, The Creature From My Closet by Obert Skye **
  • My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
  • My Life as a Stunt Boy by Janet Tashjian
  • Justin Case School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail

Younger Readers (not past 3rd grade):

  • Hailey Twitch series by Lauren Barnholdt
  • Dear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton
  • Frankly, Frannie series by A.J. Stern

** My Personal Favorites

wonkenstein and potterwookie


2 thoughts on “Journal Voice Books

  1. For girl leads, there’s the Dork Diaries series and Amelia’s Notebook series. These are probably suited for the older middle grades. My nine-year old loves them! They are perfect for getting her reading again when she’s not in the mood to start a new book.

    • See– I knew there had to be girl characters out there, but it is clear the authors are catering to reluctant boy readers and assuming a girl will pick up and read the book anyway.

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